Kelsey and Philip’s Amazing Swedish Adventure!

We’re going to folk school in Sweden for a year.  We will be attending Sätergläntan Folk School in Dalarna, where Philip will be studying blacksmithing and woodworking and I will be studying weaving and spinning.  We decided now would be a good time, as we don’t have children yet and are still young.  When we come back, we hope to open a folk school of our own, where we will have classes and workshops on traditional Scandinavian skills and crafts and dancing.  Of course, we plan to stop in Norway on the way to Sweden to visit Philip’s relatives and attend some dance events.  (I might possibly get a chance to work in a bunad shop for a week too!)

Now for the answers to the questions I know you’re asking:

Yes, this is real.

No, we don’t have all the plans made yet.

No, we don’t have our visa/all our funding/plans yet.  It’s a work in progress.  We just decided this at the end of November.  We haven’t even gotten our official acceptance to the school yet.

Yes, we are applying for grants and scholarships galore.

Yes, we are working on the Swedish language.

Even though we are saving as much money as we can, and applying for grants and scholarships, we may still need more money.  If you feel like helping us, we have a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for our trip.  Depending on how much money you give us, there are different awesome thank-you gifts like bone dice, drinking horns, and gift cards to my store!

Oh, and if you donate a lot, I’ll handknit you a pair of socks.   🙂

The link is here:  http://www.gofundme.com/637l3o

If you want to donate to our cause and help our dreams come true, we would greatly appreciate it.  If you want to donate and don’t want to go through GoFundMe, just shoot me an e-mail at kelsey dot seamstress at yahoo dot com.   You’ll still get the same thank-you gifts.

Philip and Me at the Nordic Ball 2013

Philip and Me at the Nordic Ball 2013

If you can’t give us any money, we would still greatly appreciate your prayers and well wishes!  Thanks so much!  Tack så mycket!

 

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Published in: on February 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Swedish Costume from Gästrikland

Since I moved to Minnesota, I have become a member of three different Scandinavian Dance groups; the Norwegians, the Swedes, and a third group called North Star.  We mostly dance over the winter, but we do have a few summer performances as well.  I have a costume that I made this past winter that includes a dark blue wool skirt and a red wool bodice, that I wear with the old blouse and särk I made when I was thirteen and made my first folk costume, but that whole costume is just a bit too hot for summer wear.  So, I decided to make a  costume out of cotton and linen instead.

Striped Cotton

Fabric for my Folk Costume

In the 1890’s, my great-grandma Anna Andersson immigrated to America from the town of Ockelbo, in Gästrikland, Sweden.  I decided for my new summer folk costume, I decided to make something similar to what was worn in Gästrikland.  I knew that I couldn’t get the exact fabric that was specific to Anna’s town of Ockelbo, or for any town in Gästrikland, for that matter.  For starters, they are all striped wool, with very specific stripes.  I have been searching for the proper material for the Ockelbo costume for a couple of years with no luck.  So, I went to the little local fabric store and got three yards of the red with tan stripes for my dress, and one yard of the white with red stripes for the apron.

The first piece I made was the apron.  I recently got a little rigid heddle for Swedish bandweaving from Glimåkra, so I wove a six-foot tie for the apron and pleated the red and white fabric into it.

Swedish Apron

Swedish Apron

The band was woven of 16/2 Swedish linen in red and white with a pattern from an old Swedish book on bandweaving I own.

The next thing I made was the livkjol, or as that translates from Swedish, “bodice-skirt”.  It’s an old style of dress in which a sleeveless bodice is attached to the skirt.  It actually predates the folk costumes that have a bodice separate from the skirt.  There are no darts in the bodice to fit it to the waist, rather, the back pieces are cut at a sharp angle to pull the bodice waist in all the way around.  It actually does make the bodice fit well.  

After I cut the pieces for the bodice and sewed them together, I tacked the linen lining in and sewed the edges down with a hem stitch.

Hemstitching the Lining In

Hemstitching the Lining In

Lining All Sewn In

Lining All Sewn In

This is very important to prevent the lining from turning to the outside and showing while you are wearing the livkjol.

Once the bodice was done, I sewed together the skirt sections and pleated them to fit into the waistline of the bodice.  I cartridge pleated together ninety inches of material for the back half of the skirt!

The back of the bodice has a point in the top center, which is usually hidden by the neckerchief.  As near as I can tell, that fashion element must be a leftover from the 1600’s.  Of course, I’m not sure, but it’s the best guess I have.

Gästrikland Dräkt

Back Without the Neckerchief

The next piece I made was the neckerchief.  I took a large square of unbleached linen, trimmed straight along the threads, and then unraveled the the edges to make a self fringe about 5/8″ deep.

The last piece was the särk, or underdress, which I made out of half-bleached linen.  It basically looks like a Victorian nightgown, with long sleeves and a high neck and collar.  I used four antique buttons from my great-grandma Anna’s button jar for the collar and cuffs of the särk.  It is very long, almost as long as the livkjol, as was traditional.

(It is very important to note that most of the folk costume tradition in Sweden originates from the fashions of the 1830’s and 1840’s, though there are a few elements both from earlier and later in fashion history.)

All of this got done just in time for a dance performance in Peterson, Minnesota!  It was a warm day, and the costume was still a little warm to wear, but it was most definitely cooler than wearing my wool costume!  (We were dancing on asphalt in the sun– that is never very pleasant!)

After the dance, my husband, Philip, was able to take some lovely photos of my completed costume in the beautiful backyard of the lady who invited us to perform in Peterson.

Gästrikland Dräkt

Gästrikland Dräkt

(That is a very lovely spring house in the background, which has a lovely burbling spring inside it.  It was the first time I saw such a thing in real life.)

Gästrikland Dräkt

Prim and Proper

Gästrikland Dräkt

Stop to Smell the Flowers

Gästrikland Dräkt

Lovely as a Flower

Gästrikland Dräkt

Back View

Gästrikland Dräkt

My Sound of Music Moment

Gästrikland Dräkt

Spinning

The last stop in town was to take a picture by the Peterson tity sign, since my great-grandma Anna married a Peterson, so my family is the Peterson clan.

Gästrikland Dräkt

Peterson Town Sign

Thanks for reading!

Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm  Comments (3)  
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New Loom!

Bear with me here, for this short post.  I’m a little excited.

I HAVE A NEW LOOM!!!!

New Loom, 1952 Macomber 10-Shaft, 16 Treadle Floor Loom

New Loom, 1952 Macomber 10-Shaft, 16 Treadle Floor Loom

It’s a 1952 Macomber Loom, 10 Harness/Shaft, 16 Treadle.  It comes with innumerable heddles and four reeds in different sizes, and a free tapestry loom.  (I’m thinking it will be necessary to set up a sprang project on that later this week as well, or a little tapestry.  Not sure yet.)

I got it from a lady not too far from here, who had it for sale for a very reasonable price.  I got first dibs, and apparently about six more people called her after I did.  Hurrah for being fast at finding things on Craig’s List!

My first project is going to be a set of Swedish Cotton/Linen dishtowels, in red and white.  It’s the first 8-harness pattern I’ll ever do, and I’m simultaneously excited and nervous.

I’m sure I’ll be able to figure it out.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Name suggestions for my new baby are welcome.

The Back Beam of my New Loom.

The Back Beam of my New Loom.

(I feel I should also mention that my mom and dad were kind enough to drive the Suburban to David City with the stock trailer to help me get this loom.  There is no way it would have gotten to its new home otherwise.  Thanks!)

Published in: on May 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm  Comments (1)  

It’s National Spinning and Weaving Week!!!

What are you doing to celebrate?

I am working on this lovely piece of tablet weaving:

Anglo-Saxon Tablet Weaving

Anglo-Saxon Tablet Weaving

As you can see, sometimes when one starts a new piece of tablet weaving, especially with a new pattern that I have never woven before, the beginning can be a bit. . . rough.  Grrr.  At least this pattern evened out quickly!

I now have about 8 feet of this pattern done.  I can get about 9-10 inches done in an evening if I work hard.  (It’s been a while since I started.)

I’ve been using this lovely wool for the weaving.  I can’t overstate how nice it is to work with, and what a nice fine weave it makes!  I love it.

In other news. . .  In case you’re wondering why you haven’t heard from me much lately, it’s because I’ve been busy with life after school, which includes starting my own business!  I have started an online spinning, weaving, lacemaking, knitting, and other textile arts supply store called Spindle, Shuttle, and Needle.  I have books, handmade spindles, shuttles, and other accessories made from Nebraska wood, lovely yarns and looms from Sweden, wool and silk roving from New Zealand, and many other wonderful things!  You should check it out!  In addition to these items, I am also offering custom-made versions of many of the costumes I have featured here on my blog.  (So, if you’ve been wanting one of those linen gambesons or a sweet Medieval dress, you know where to find one!)

I’m going to be busy again in the next few weeks, but hopefully I’ll be starting to do monthly tutorials on some of the crafts I always talk about here– nålbinding, spinning, even tablet weaving!  Soon you’ll be able to follow along and learn new crafts with me!

I’ll close with some pictures.  Pictures are always fun.

Here’s my booth at the “Viking Market” at this spring’s Tivoli Fest in Elk Horn, Iowa– my grand debut as a company!  Too bad it rained almost all day so I had to keep things in my tent most of the time.

I have spindles and shuttles and wool and linen for sale!

I have spindles and shuttles and wool and linen for sale!

I also taught spinning and weaving at a kid’s camp this summer.  It was a lot of fun!

Teaching the Kids

Teaching the Kids

Back to the website to add more items!  I hope you wander over to check it out and see what I have to offer!

Published in: on October 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tablet Weaving

Back in March, I picked up a book on tablet weaving and a bundle of fifty cards.  I got some wool and linen yarn, and intended to start weaving within the next couple of weeks, but I never got around to it.  The summer passed, I kept seeing my book, envisioning tablet woven edging for my Viking clothing, and wanting to weave, but it never happened.

Yesterday, I finally started weaving.

I picked out a pattern from my book and changed it just a bit so I could have three colors, instead of the two it showed.  Not content with the very basic patterns in the book, I picked one of the prettier ones further in.  Knowing my limits, I didn’t pick this pattern, but I did choose one in which half the cards are threaded to the right, and half to the left.  I had blue, green, and off-white yarn, and decided to use the off-white as my base, the blue as the pattern, and the green as the accent and the weft.

Tablet weaving is a warp-faced weave, so I had to measure out my warp in the colors for the pattern accordingly– 30 threads in the off-white, 16 threads in the blue, and 2 in the green.  Since the pattern I had chosen would show the weft thread at each reversal of the card-turning direction, I used the same green for the accent and for the weft.   This pattern uses twelve cards with four holes each.

Tablet Weaving Pattern

Tablet Weaving Pattern

Once my warp was measured, I combed the colors together, and threaded my cards.  Unknown to me at the time, I threaded them all backwards, so I ended up with a jagged-edge pattern instead of the smooth curvy pattern I had envisioned.  But I didn’t figure this out until I started weaving.

Since I have no loom, I literally tied myself into my work.  I sat on the bed, with my belt on, the warp and working end attached to the belt, and the end of the warp knotted and looped around my right foot.  This looked just a little ridiculous.

Modus Operendi

Modus Operendi

In no time at all, I was weaving. However, I soon noticed that my pattern wasn’t smooth.  For a while, I thought the book had a typo in the directions, but soon realized my cards were just threaded backwards.  Since the pattern was still pretty anyway, and I had learned from it, I continued for another few hours, until I ran out of warp, and finished a 6-foot length of tablet weaving.

Diamond Pattern

Diamond Pattern

After Weaving About Five Feet

After Weaving About Five Feet

I am certainly going to be tablet weaving more in the future, and will continue to post pictures of my work.

As for the nålbinding I kept mentioning a while back?  I have finished a hat and a sock, but I keep forgetting to take pictures.  I will have some soon, I promise.

Published in: on September 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Weaving a Tale. . . And Placemats!

Hey!  It’s been a while since I last posted– several months– but that is because I have been really busy with school.  I was going to upload my project on Mycenaean clothing, but I decided not to.  I was too worried about getting in trouble for plagiarizing myself!

I have been busy lately, working on a frilly French shirt and a Viking Costume for my little brother– pictures of the young Viking to come!  I also decided last time I was home for the weekend to warp the four-harness loom in the basement and make dishtowels.  I shall now narrate to you my adventure:

Friday night, I was down in the basement, hanging out with my family, and I started messing with the loom.  There was a small project on it that had never been finished, and was never really started right.  I thought I might take it apart, Penelope style, and fix it.  I started to ‘un-weave’ it, and Mom looked over and said:  “If you want to start something new on that, you can.”  In about ten minutes, I had cut the old project off, pulled the old warp back through the heddles and reed, and was unwinding the warping bar.  I found a cone of white cotton warp/weft we had boughten when we got the loom, and was off!

The first step was to find the pattern I wanted to use.  A few years ago while I was at Stuhr Museum, I found an old weaving diagram in a display case next to a four-harness loom, so I took a picture of it.  It was this pattern that I decided to use, titled “Double Orange Peel”.

An Antique Weaving Draft

Double Orange Peel Weaving Draft

I counted the threads in the diagram and added twelve for selvedge, six on each side, and came up with 126.  Yikes.  Nothing fazing me, I dug out the warping board and started measuring warp– enough for about four towels.  I had to measure the warp in two sections, because the pegs on the warp board were not long enough, naturally, to hold all of my warp.  After the warp was counted and measured out, I called it a night and decided to actually warp the loom and hopefully start weaving the next day.

The next morning, I hired my little brother, Kyle, to help sley the yarn so I could get the heddles threaded the right way.  His job was to hand me the threads in the right order from the lease sticks.  I paid him a king size bag of Skittles.  My job was to follow the pattern and pass the sleying hook through the reed and heddles in the correct order, and then tie the yarns, once they were pulled through, to the beam.  I think he got bored after he ran out of Skittles, but he kept helping anyway.

Sleying the Loom

Sleying the Loom

Side View of Sleying the Loom

Side View of Sleying the Loom

Once the heddles and reed were all threaded, I dismissed Kyle and began to sort of the other end of the warp  (Should have been done beforehand) by grabbing a pair of loops and pulling them straight back fro the loom, then bringing them back and tying them to the apron bar.  That was a lot of walking.  Finally, that was done, and I asked th oldest of my thress brothers to hold the warp yarns even on a brromstick while I turned the crank and tightened the warp.  Finally, I was ready to weave.

No I wasn’t.  I had skipped a space in the reed, and had to move 62 threads over one space to avoid a gap in the cloth.  Then I learned the valuable lesson that one cannot thread a yarn through more than one heddle at a time, so I had to fix my selvedges.

Once I started weaving, I was very happy with how the pattern was turning out–  It was a beautiful overshot pattern, and as it was done in all white, it was very delicate looking.  However, what with the weight of the yarn and the overshot pattern, it was not suited for dish towels.  So, I decided to make placemats.  They were already the right width, so I had only to adjust the length and allow sufficient gaps between each section for fringe.

Weaving the Placemats

Weaving the Placemats

A Placemat on the Loom

A Placemat on the Loom

They are not finisheded yet, as I ran out of white yarn at the end of the third placemat, so I have to buy more in order to finish.  However, they do give me hope that I shall be able to weave my family tartan this summer as planned– and with very little trouble!

Me With My Weaving

Me With My Weaving

Kyle Helping

Kyle Helping

Published in: on May 3, 2009 at 12:57 pm  Comments (2)  
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